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Chilean Exchange Students, Faculty at SM This Winter

Chilean Exchange Students, Faculty at SM This Winter
Mallory Munro

Six students and two faculty members from the Grange School in Santiago, Chile, visited campus this winter as part of an established exchange program with St. Mark's, through the SM Global Citizenship Initiative.

The students— Mariana Gatica, Fernanda Retamal, Josefina Pérez, Sofia Ali-Shah, Benjamin Wertheim, and Benjamin Chan—are here with Estefania Ugarte and Daisy Goldsmith, both teachers at the Grange.

The Grange School is a co-ed, independent day school in Santiago with an enrollment of 1,700 students from Pre-K to 12th grade. The Grange School is known for its small classes and friendly atmosphere, with most of the students coming from an international background. The Grange School has been a partner school with St. Mark's since 2014.

"It's been a fantastic group this year," said Mr. Neil Cifuentes, assistant director of Global Citizenship and on-site partner school coordinator at St. Mark's. "This is the sixth year that we have welcomed students and faculty from the Grange School to Southborough. It has become one of the more robust exchanges we offer as it also incorporates a professional exchange for faculty."

The visiting students were fully immersed in the academic and community life of St. Mark's "They participated in all offerings St. Mark's provides," said Cifuentes. "They took a full course load, participated in athletics, weekend activities and the Saturday program. The visiting faculty met with a number of faculty to discuss best practices and pedagogy and also sat in on multiple classes during their visit."

The entire Chilean contingent all went to the opera with the annual St. Mark's trip this week. While here, they also had the chance to visit Boston and Cambridge. Other activities included snow tubing and a trip to the Wrentham Outlets. After a month at St. Mark's, the visitors head back to Chile on the Friday after Valentine's Day.

In this exchange program, St. Markers will also have the opportunity to travel to Santiago, Chile, live with a host family and attend the Grange School. Students who participate are expected to act as hosts for their Chilean counterparts. This program offers an excellent opportunity for students to solidify their Spanish language learning, to participate with a Chilean family to learn what life is like in Chile, and to visit some of the sites in and around Santiago.

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